Since breaking onto the scene back in 2011 with his song ‘A*M*I*C*,’ Eminem has been dominating headlines. The 41-year-old rapper became the second-most followed user on Instagram with over 111 million followers as of April 2020.
Most of Em’s celebrity came from his huge social media followings, but he’s also been dominating the headlines with his music. Since appearing on the Grammy-award winning album Revival, Eminem has released a string of hit singles including ‘Kill Shamelessly,’ ‘Square Up,’ and ‘Survival.’
The King Of Twitter
For those unfamiliar, Twitter is a microblogging platform that was originally intended for short, frequent bursts of content, like tweets. Launched in 2006, Twitter now allows for long-form content as well. On the platform, you can follow almost any celebrity or public figure and get access to their occasional tweets. But it’s not just limited to that. Anyone with a large enough following on the platform can engage with their audience and start a conversation.
While Eminem’s music may not be for everyone, many people have found joy in his words. On the platform, you can often find poetry, short stories, and a glimpse into the minds of the characters he creates. One of the most followed users on Twitter as of April 2020 is Fifty Cent, the CEO of a fake social media company, G-Unit, and one-time music industry partner of Eminem.
A Rapper’s Renaissance
Fifty Cent was first introduced to the world back in 2003, when his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was released. The album featured guest appearances from established figures in the industry including Eminem and Dr. Dre. But it was far from a typical hip-hop album. Songs like ‘Candy Shop,’ ‘Souless’ and ‘Who Do You Respect?’ drew influence from modern classics like Bon Jovi’s 1988 hit ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’
The effort was largely met with acclaim from critics and proved to be a commercial success. As a result, Seven years later, in 2011, we were graced with the arrival of one of hip-hop’s most influential figures. The year of his debut album’s release was also the year that Twitter emerged as a mainstream social media tool, overtaking MySpace as the most followed social network in the U.S.
From that point forward, the careers of both men took off. In 2018, Forbes evaluated the rapper’s estimated income and determined it was $40 million. That same year, Billboard published a profile on Fifty Cent, which stated that the rapper was worth over $100 million. Thanks in large part to his savvy business sense and astute understanding of social media, Fifty Cent has been able to parlay his initial fame into a fully-fledged multi-billion-dollar business. Forbes’ latest valuation of the rapper’s brand, G-Unit Entertainment, is $16 million.
A Self-made Mogul
Fifty Cent is one of hip-hop’s most prolific and recognizable names, which is perhaps not surprising since he’s not exactly hiding his light under a bushel. The rap mogul became famous as part of the influential hip-hop group D12, which he founded with his cousin, Tony Yayo. The group disbanded in 2012 and since then, Fifty Cent has used his clout in the industry to establish himself as an independently-wealthy figure. He started his own record label, Street King Productions, and has since released a series of successful hip-hop albums, namely 2014’s The King Of Comedy, 2015’s T.H.U.B. (The Hood Unsigned Blogger) and most recently, 2019’s Fifty. In addition to music, Fifty Cent has also invested in various businesses, including a marijuana production company. He’s also one of the most followed users on TikTok, with over 72 million followers as of April 2020.
A Grammy Winner
While Eminem has dominated headlines, Fifty Cent’s star has been on the rise, as well. The rapper has received considerable critical acclaim for his music and has even won a Grammy. In 2018, he won Best Compilation New Artist for his work on T.H.U.B., a mixtape he curated with his group G-Unit. In 2019, the Grammy’s honored him by handing out Best Male Hip-Hop Performance for ‘Bang,’ a song from his latest album, Fifty.
A Rebel With A Cause
The media has taken notice of Fifty Cent’s cause marketing efforts, as well. The rapper has been a consistent voice against the spread of fake news, particularly during the 2016 U.S. election, when he created a parody Twitter account @FIFTYSIXCENT to spread misinformation and hoaxes. In 2018, he formed a partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to fight for “digital civil liberties.” In addition to lobbying the government and news outlets, the pair are also taking Twitter bans into their own hands, suing the platform for civil rights infringements on behalf of their clients. In 2019, Fifty Cent successfully sued Twitter for violating his intellectual property rights after the platform suspended his account for violating its policies on “sensitive material” and “duplicate content.” Since then, he’s continued his push for free speech by suing Instagram and TikTok for similar violations. And as of April 2020, his @FIFTYSIXCENT account has over 263,000 followers.
A Self-described “Phenomenon”
If there’s one thing that encapsulates Fifty Cent’s awesomeness, it’s his humility. In an interview with GQ, the rapper stated, “People always ask me, ‘How do you feel?’ And I always tell them, ‘I’m a phenomenon.’ I really am a phenomenon. If you look at the history of hip-hop music, there have been a lot of artists who have achieved a lot, but none of them have ever been considered great. As a matter of fact, half of them haven’t been considered great. So for me to be considered great, it means I’ve got a lot to offer. And that’s a pretty attractive thing.”
While it’s evident that Eminem and Fifty Cent were destined to be famous friends, it appears that their partnership was also built on more than just friendship. According to the rapper, part of his success can be attributed to his unprecedentedly early entrance into the industry. Just like many of his contemporaries, Eminem initially signed with an entertainment company and then later became an independent artist. But unlike many of his peers, Fifty Cent did not go through the same process. The rapper came into the industry at an already established stage and was therefore better able to navigate the industry’s intricacies.
The two have been partners in crime ever since, and their creative differences, though perhaps not always obvious, have always been there. In fact, in 2018, during a freestyle rap battle with Eminem on one of their songs, ‘The Storm,’ Fifty Cent dropped this bomb, “One day, we’ll fight. I’ll beat your ass.” While many fans may consider such bravado to be part of the battle rapper’s charm, for those who know the intricate workings of the music industry, it probably wasn’t a good omen. Eminem has since then, kept his vow and even took the win on social media. On Twitter as of April 2020, he has over 23.7 million followers and on TikTok, he has over 144 million followers. (Bossip)